**Fish still avoiding the chill**
**The St. Johns River and area lakes**
You know that freshwater fishing been slow when your best bet is the mullet run.
But the river is thick with them. And the word continues to be that all the salty water is cleaning them up a little Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ making them taste more like ocean mullet than river mullet.
The Shands Bridge abutments are still where the most action can be viewed, with long lines of cane-polers lining the abutments.
The next best news is that the river seems to be crawling with small shrimp good enough for bait, but little else maybe pileau with datil peppers.
Bass fishing is slow. Bream fishing is slow, except at Lake Lochloosa where shellcracker and bluegill are still bedding, Im told.
**Everything hot but the fishing.**
**The Intracoastal Waterway**
I wish I could spice this up, but the brackish water is pretty much what weve come to expect when the heat is on.
Redfish are scattered and generally not likely to be in the flat because of warm water temperatures. They will travel to the backs of the creeks with enough depths and tidal flow to chase bait in and get back out.
Flounder are still around creek mouths and under docks. Mud minnows are the bait of choice unless you can net some small finger mullet, which seem to be tough to run across.
The cooler water is attracting some Spanish mackerel into the inlet and on back to the Castillo and Hospital Creek area.
Otherwise, it black drum, lazy sheepshead and jack crevalle.
There little reason to mention offshore trolling for glamour fish, but trolling inside from 50 feet on out is putting a few medium-sized kingfish in the boats.
It may be that the fish are running away from the cold-water inversion that settled over St. Johns County waters. It may also be that anglers are having so much trouble finding or catching bait. It may also, and most likely be, that the kingfish know about the dearth of live bait available way before us fishermen.
But the barracuda and sharks dont seem to mind the water temperatures or lack of live food. Most of the charter guys say they seem real hungry especially for the southbound end of a northbound king mackerel.
The local reefs and wrecks continue to hold some kings, lots of cudas and amberjack and enough nice cobia to keep things interesting.
Bottom fishing has been so poor because of the cold-water inversion that few anglers are spending more than an hour or so trying to coax a bite from anything but baby sharks on local bottom. It just as bad on the ledge.
In the surf, the whiting bite picked up Tuesday and Wednesday. Good numbers of medium-sized fish were caught at the county pier. Whether theyll stay is another story.
The bite was even better at the Flagler County pier for whiting, but theyre hitting some decent flounder under the pilings as well. As I was talking to a pier rat there Wednesday morning, they were just bringing a 34-inch cobia over the rails. That the third one this season, the boys say.
Southerly winds will blow at around 10 knots all weekend, with seas 3 feet or less Saturday, and smaller on Sunday.
If I were to handicap any kingfish tournament in these waters, my racehorse would be Fernandina Captain Kenny Crawford and crew. They did it again in the Greater Jacksonville Kingfish Tournament, putting together a 37.7- and a 41.45-pound king to win it with 81.85 pounds.
The big wahoo was taken by a St. Augustine boat, the Bad Company, captained by Lewis Rogers. The fish weighed 66.9 pounds. If you guys have a photo, send it to me.
**The big cobia of the event weighed 42.6 pounds.**
Jim Sutton provides a weekly fishing report for The Record. Reach him at jim.sutton@stau ° gustine.com °